Best Tablet PCs In The UK

The Best UK Tablet PCs Available To Buy

Thinking about buying a tablet PC? Below you’ll find the best value tablet PCs available now in the UK and a summary of what makes them stand out. We’ve got the top 18 UK tablet PCs and a description to help you understand what their strengths and weaknesses are.

These are consumer tablet PCs made by established mainstream manufacturers with a solid reputation. They are rated on their design, features, performance and value-for-money.

If you want to understand how the tablet operating systems on offer compare then check out our operating systems comparison.

Prices stated below are at time of posting this article, they’ll give you a guide but it’s worth checking out the actual reviews and shopping around for the latest prices. The operating systems stated below are the operating systems that each tablet ships with. Finally, the sizes below are the size of each slate measured diagonally corner-to-corner.

Best Tablet PCs UK 2011

 

1. Apple iPad 2

Operating System: iOS

Price: £400

Size: 8.9-inches

iPad 2 review

The iPad 2 is still the best selling tablet in this list and there’s good reason. Users love it as the iPad is easy to use and responsive. The experience is optimised by a vibrant screen that’s responsive to touches and swipes.

The true differentiation for the iPad versus other tablets is the Apple App Store with iPad optimised applications and games. The number of apps here dwarfs the number of tablet-specific apps available for any other platform – including Android.

The only grumbles are the difficulty in extending an iPad as you’re limited to a proprietary Apple port – there’s no USB or MicroSD port. The iPad is locked down to control what you can and can’t load on it. This means only apps from Apple’s App Store can be utilised. These apps are checked by Apple to ensure they run smoothly, but this limits how much freedom you have to experiment with an iPad.

Apple also prevent Flash web content from running on the iPad. This ensures the battery lasts for well over 10 hours, but means you don’t get the full web experience.

The iPad is arguably the best tablet experience available right now but some users won’t accept the restrictions. The success is driven by the eco-system supported by fantastic stylish hardware. If your budget is tight, you can still also get hold of an original iPad 1 – the experience is excellent despite being well over 18 months old.

Click here for the Apple iPad 2 review in full.

 

2. ASUS Eee Pad Transformer TF101

Operating System: Android 3.0

Price: £370

Size: 10.1-inches

ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Review

The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer is differentiated from other Android tablets by offering a keyboard dock that turns the tablet into a netbook. It’s also priced aggressively to undercut the Motorola Xoom with a near identical specification and more flexibility.

A key strength of this tablet is the multi-touch capacitive screen with impressive viewing angles, good resolution and bright colours. The processor happily deals with Android Honeycomb, and there’s a decent range of ports to give you flexibility. Front- and rear-facing cameras take photos and video, and the features are rounded off with an excellent battery life (particularly when you add the keyboard dock) and Adobe Flash compatibility.

It’s weaknesses are that Android Honeycomb isn’t as finished as the iOS iPad operating system so doesn’t work as smoothly and lacks polish. The ASUS tablet also lacks USB ports unless you invest in the keyboard dock.

The Eee Pad Transformer tablet is a flexible Android tablet and has some great user reviews as a result.

Click here for the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer review in full.

 

3. Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Operating System: Android 3.1

Price: £400

Size: 10.1-inches

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Tablet Review

Regarded as one of the best Android tablet available, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 has a fantastic hardware spec and the most stylish design – but compromises some elements to get there.

It runs Android 3.1 and is the thinnest, and lightest, of all the 10-inch tablets. It feels slick and great in the hand – comparable to the iPad 2 for style. The performance is pretty similar to the iPad 2 also – it’s fast and responsive.

The trade off with a thin tablet is that you lose ports, so don’t expect the HDMI and USB connections, or a microSD card slot. Accessories are available to provide the same function but at a cost.

The eco-system of Android isn’t as comprehensive as the iPad’s. There are a lot less apps specifically designed for a tablet format on the Android Market in comparison to the iPad App Store. There’s also fewer downloadable films and TV shows. However, this will change over time.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 really stands out amongst the plethora of Android slates. So much so that Apple are trying to stop it being sold on the grounds it’s too much like an iPad. It’s impressive screen, stylish design and nippy performance are hard to beat.

Click here for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 review in full.

 

4. Acer Aspire Iconia Tab A101

Operating System: Android 3.2

Price: £270

Size: 7-inch

Acer Iconia Tab A100 Review

If you’re looking for a 7-inch tablet PC with a decent specification then the Acer Iconia Tab A100 is a sound option. It’s the first 7-inch tablet to run Android 3.2, offers a good performance, is responsive and has a decent feature list.

The weaknesses are that the battery life is fairly mediocre and again there are limitations of the Android eco-system in it’s application to a tablet-sized interface. Android 3.2 at least scales the Android smartphone apps to a tablet screen much better than previous versions of Android.

The Acer Aspire Iconia Tab A100 is competitively priced and the bar on 7-inch tablets hasn’t been set too high yet. If you’re set on a tablet that fits in your jacket pocket then this is about the best available right now.

Click here for the Acer Aspire Iconia Tab A100 review in full.

 

5. Sony Tablet S

Operating System: Android 3.1

Price: £400

Size: 9.4-inch

Sony Tablet S

Sony’s long awaited foray into the tablet market brings the Sony Tablet S and a unique design. This wedge-shaped tablet sits comfortably in the hand and on a flat surface. It’s light and great for reading or surfing online plus the design also allows for a full-sized SD card slot. The trade-off is that it’s curvaciously chunky.

The processor happily deals with Android 3.1 without a hitch and the screen is responsive, although not as bright as other tablets. However, it is great for playing the exclusive range of PlayStation games and apps that Sony offer for this tablet.

Unfortunately, the Sony offering of games isn’t matched by a wide selection of games from the Android Marketplace. Again, it’s the weakness of the surrounding Android eco-system that holds back this tablet. Sony have added music streaming and video download services to supplement this though. One other criticism is that onboard storage is light so the SD card slot becomes a necessity to expand the memory.

The Sony S Tablet is a unique offering that SonyPlaystation enthusiasts will love. If you’re not a gamer though, there’s still a lot to like.

Click here for more on the Sony S Tablet.

 

6. Motorola Xoom

Operating System: Android 3.0

Price: £320

Size: 10.1-inches

Motorola Xoom Review

The Motorola Xoom was the first tablet to run Android 3.0 Honeycomb.

It has a great all-round hardware specification with a speedy processor, capacitive touchscreen that is responsive, lots of ports, great high-definition capabilities and range of sensors that support the latest 3D games. The battery life is also comparable with the best tablets on the market.

It comes up short against the latest Android tablets as it’s a little heavier and Android still isn’t as slick as iOS on the iPad as an operating system.

Overall though it’s still a great tablet – Google’s recent acquisition of Motorola means it should get a lot of focus and get the very latest Android updates before anyone else. There’s also a Motorola Xoom 2 out very soon.

Click here for the Motorola Xoom review in full.

7. Acer Iconia A500

Operating System: Android 3.0

Price: £300

Size: 10.1-inches

Acer Iconia A500 Android 3.0 Tablet Review

The Acer Iconia combines a good all-round hardware specification with Android 3.0, and is pitched at a good price level too.

It possesses a decent processor so it’s capable of dealing with the latest tablet games, HD video and speedy web browsing. It has good quality cameras and a responsive capacitive multi-touch screen. There’s plenty of internal storage memory with an option to upgrade via a memory card. A USB port and a HDMI port also give lots of flexibility. Finally, a decent battery life means it’s good for long journeys.

What’s the weaknesses? Again, Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) is a good tablet PC operating system but the user interface doesn’t have the finesse of the iOS on the iPad. This will improve as Android evolves but for now it has odd quirks and again is not as tablet-optimised as iOS on the iPad.

There’s little missing from the Acer Iconia A500 but there’s also nothing to make it stand head-and-shoulders above other Android tablets. Depending on the price you can find, the Acer Iconia is a good solid bet even it doesn’t have any specific feature that makes it stand-out.

Click here for the Acer Iconia A500 review in full.

 

8. ASUS Eee Slate EP121

Operating System: Windows 7

Price: £1000

Size: 12.1-inches

ASUS Eee Slate EP121 Review

The ASUS Eee Slate EP121 is a super-sized and super-powered Windows 7 tablet computer.

It delivers a premium Windows performance via a high-power processor, which gives a user access to a full operating system and the full range of Windows desktop applications. It also has a capacitive multi-touch screen that’s bright, sharp and responsive, lots of ports and storage options (USB,SDport, HDMI port), Adobe Flash compatibility to watch web video, handwriting input and a quick boot-up.

The cons are that Windows 7 isn’t designed for a tablet experience so menus and icons are fiddly to navigate with a finger on a touchscreen. On top of this, it’s unwieldy as it’s larger than other tablets and this means it’s less mobile. A comparatively short battery life also reduces the options to use it on long journeys.

The ASUS Eee slate EP121 tablet is a more expensive tablet PC but has the specification to match and the best Windows tablet PC experience for a consumer tablet.

Click here for the ASUS Eee Slate EP121 review in full.

 

9. Acer Aspire Iconia Tab W500 Review

Operating System: Windows 7

Price: £440

Size: 10.1-inches

Acer Iconia Tab W500 Reviews

The Acer Aspire Iconia Tab W500 is a low cost Windows 7 tablet, with an excellent 10.1-inch multitouch capacitive screen.

It has a powerful processor that can handle high-definition video playback, browse the web speedily and deals with Windows games. You also have full Flash compatibility for watching web video.

As the W500 runs Windows 7, you can load any desktop Windows application and this means you have access to millions of apps. However, most of these are designed for use with the mouse or trackpad of a desktop/laptop computer, and in a lot of cases they are difficult to use on a touch-based tablet.

The Acer Aspire Iconia Tab W500 also provides substantial flexibility with a keyboard dock, 2 cameras, USB ports, HDMI output and an SD card slot.

Again, be aware that the Windows 7 operating system isn’t designed for tablets. It’s fiddly and frustrating to use with a touchscreen. It doesn’t have the high-end processor of the Eee Slate EP121 above so can be laggy when loading apps and slow to respond to re-orientation of the screen. It’s heavy and the internal storage is limited. The keyboard dock is not a good quality and the battery-life weighs in at a disappointing 4 hours of video playback.

Ultimately, if you really must have Windows on a tablet, your options are limited, and this does provide a cheap-ish option with an acceptable performance. It’s worth holding on a little longer until Windows 8 launches as it will be more tablet-friendly.

Click here for the Acer Aspire Iconia Tab W500 review in full.

 

10. Blackberry Playbook

Operating System: Android 3.0

Price: £225

Size: 7-inches

Blackberry Playbook Tablet Review

 

The Blackberry Playbook is a 7-inch slate with a responsive and sharp capacitive screen. The high spec processor delivers a fast performance and the operating system has been specifically designed for this tablet so is intuitive and slick. It also supports added security to protect your data – a feature particularly relevant for businesses.

The PlayBook is limited if it isn’t paired with a Blackberry phone though. The core productivity apps (email, calendar, tasks list) only work when in range of your Blackberry phone. For this reason you need to be a Blackberry enthusiast and expect to own such a phone for the life of the tablet otherwise you’ll be missing out on core apps. You can overcome this using web apps but given there isn’t a Playbook 3G option, you’ll need to be in range of a Wi-Fi signal.

Overall the hardware and software of the Blackberry Playbook is excellent but the average consumer will find it limiting due to the restrictions on apps and requirement to link to a Blackberry phone for the full range of function.

Click here for the Blackberry Playbook review in full.

 

11. Archos 101

Operating System: Android 3.0

Price: £180

Size: 10.1-inches

Archos 101 Tablet Review

The Archos 101 tablet PC is a low cost 10-inch tablet that offers a good option at the price.

The screen is responsive and the processor delivers a reasonable performance. This means it can deal with video and speedy web browsing.Batterylife is reasonable for a budget tablet too.

The limitations are that it runs an older version of Android (Android 2.2), has a fairly plasticy build and weaker screen than other tablets. You also don’t get direct access to the Android Market from the Archos 101 so you have to manually install apps or use the limited selection available from the Archos AppsLib.

Overall the Archos 101 is a good tablet for the price but it doesn’t match up to the more expensive Android tablets that run the latest edition of the operating system.

Click here for the Archos 101 tablet PC review in full.

12. Advent Vega

Operating System: Android 3.0

Price: £230

Size: 10.1-inches

Advent Vega Reviews

The Advent Vega is a similar spec’d tablet to the Archos 101 with a near identical feature set and performance.

You can expect a decent media and web experience, responsive multitouch screen and decent range of ports.

Again it runs the dated Android 2.2 operating system and so has the same limitations.

If you can’t decide between the Archos 101 and Advent Vega then your best option is to shop around for the best offer as they pretty much give an identical experience.

Click here for the Advent Vega review in full.

 

13. HTC Flyer Tablet Review

Operating System: Android 3.0

Price: £440

Size: 7-inches

HTC Flyer Tablet Review

The HTC Flyer is a 7-inch Android tablet with the unique feature of a very accurate and responsive magic pen stylus and a range of pre-installed apps that support note taking. This makes it’s great for annotating books and articles, plus you can capture notes on other apps too.

The tablet itself is pretty fast and has a reasonably high-powered processor. It offers a good quality multitouch screen that reacts well to taps and swipes, good web browsing function (including Flash compatibility), and front- and rear-facing cameras for recording video or making video calls.

On the flip side, it’s expensive and let down by not offering the latest version of the Android operating system. Furthermore, the range of apps optimised for the stylus input are limited. It’s also missing a HDMI port and the battery life isn’t great.

Taking all this into account though, the HTC Flyer would suit anyone in an education, research or creative field due to the note taking features.

Click here for the HTC Flyer review in full.

 

14. LG Optimus Pad

Operating System: Android 3.0

Price: £720

Size: 10.1-inches

LG Optimus Pad Tablet Review

The LG Optimus Pad is unique amongst tablets in that you can record 3D video. 3D video has yet to catch on with the mass market but it does offer an interesting feature if you’ve got a 3D TV to watch these on – you can’t get all the glory of 3D video playback on the tablet screen.

Overall the rest of the tablet specification is comparable to the best of the Android Honeycomb tablets. That means a decent processor to handle Android 3.0, an excellent battery life, a responsive multi-touch screen that delivers bright and sharp images, the best quality cameras of any tablet (front- and rear-facing) and a range of ports to extend the tablet’s function.

The weaknesses come in Android 3.0’s lack of finish in comparison to the iPad operating system and a price that is extremely high when lined up with the other Android tablets with similar specs. You’re paying a lot more for the 3D video option so make sure you’re going to use it if you buy this tablet.

The LG Optimus Pad has a specification and performance that is at least comparable to the Motorola Xoom, Acer Iconia and ASUS Eee Pad Transformer. It also has the 3D video capture option and better cameras for shooting stills. However, it’s the most expensive Android 3.0 tablet currently on offer.

Click here for the LG Optimus Pad review in full.

 

15. Samsung Galaxy Tab (Original)

Operating System: Android 2.2

Price: £232

Size: 7-inches

Samsung Galaxy Tab Original Review

The original Samsung Galaxy Tab was the first big-brand challenger to the iPad but is now rather dated. It’s very different to the iPad in that it’s a 7-inch tablet so about half the size.

It only runs Android 2.2 (you can now update to 2.3) and so you’re limited to an operating system that was designed for a smartphone and doesn’t take full advantage of the larger screen.Batterylife is also a little weak.

But, if you’re someone who prefers the more portable 7-inch format then the Galaxy Tab has a great screen and is quick. It also has direct access to the Android Market range of apps.

Overall the Galaxy Tab is a decent choice but now becoming superseded by higher-spec 7-inch tablets. If you can pick up one on the cheap side then it could still be an option though.

Click here for the original 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab review in full.

 

16. Dell Streak 7

Operating System: Android 2.2

Price: £250

Size: 7-inches

Dell Streak 7 review

The Dell Streak 7 has a unique spec in that excels in some areas and is severely let down in others.

The processor is strong and handles Android 2.2 very well giving you a responsive 7-inch screen, speedy web surfing, HD video and Flash. It’s also one of the few tablets available now that allows access to the 4G data network. However, there’s not much of a 4G network in theUKjust yet.

The flip side is the low resolution display and poor battery life.

Depending on what’s important to you, there may be some value in exploring the Dell Streak 7 tablet – particularly with the 4G connectivity.

Click here for the Dell Streak 7 review in full.

 

17. HP TouchPad

Operating System: WebOS

Price: £250 – guide – discontinued so prices vary 

Size: 9.7-inches

HP TouchPad Review

The HP TouchPad bought a new operating system – WebOS – to tablets. However, despite some promising early signs, a few issues with performance lead to the tablet flopping.

WebOS is regarded as a fantastic polished operating system. But the performance of the tablet was inconsistent and there were very few tablet apps or games for the TouchPad.

Subsequently HP have stopped making the TouchPad and sold off the remaining stock on the cheap. If you can get a cheap TouchPad via eBay or another online retailers it’s still a decent tablet, but bear in mind it won’t be supported in future.

Click here for the HP TouchPad review in full.

 

18. NATPC/Tabtech M009S Tablet Review

Operating System: Android 2.2

Price: £70

Size: 7-inches

M009S Tablet PC Review

The Tabtech M009S tablet (also referred to as the NATPC M009S) is a cheap and basic option. The performance is as you should expect at this price. It made this list due to the price point, but don’t expect it to compare to the other tablets in those list.

It’s a 7-inch tablet running Android 2.2 so effectively an oversized smartphone. That means it will run the apps and games associated with Android smartphones but you have more screen to play with.

It has a limited memory but there’s a MicroSD card slot so you can extend it. Similarly the accessory that comes with it allows you to attach a USB stick and connect to a wired Internet connection.

It has a low powered processor, that means it stutters along and occasionally freezes up. The screen is resistive so not as responsive as the other tablets in this list.

Overall it does a decent job at this price. If you’re keeping to a tight budget for your tablet this is about as good as you can expect. I would recommend paying a bit extra though to get a far better capacitive screen and stronger processor – such as on the Archos 101 or Advent Vega.

Click here for the M009S review in full.

 

Tablets that didn’t make the list:

What Tablet PC has lots of review of other table PCs available to buy in the UK that haven’t made the top 10 list but you may still be considering.

Check out the Creative ZiiO Tab Review, ViewSonic ViewPad 10 Review, Commtiva N700 and bModo12G reviews.

I’ve also covered a number of specific areas such as the best cheap tablets and the best Android 3.0 tablets so you can find more information on those too.

If you want to compare the specifications of all of the tablets above, click on our Tablet Comparison Table.

 

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Comments

  1. Kevin says:

    Perfect timing as I’m in the market for a new tablet. Thanks for the run down on the latest features and trade offs!

  2. Alden says:

    I wonder how long the battery of ASUS Eee Slate EP121 will last. Thanks for this list, it is a great help for people who are looking for tablets to buy.

    • No worries and in answer to your question, you’re looking at around 3.5-4.5 hours of battery life from the ASUS Eee Slate EP121 if you’re putting some pressure on the processor – such as watching video. If you want to find out more then I’ve got a more complete review of the ASUS Eee Slate EP 121 – just click this link.

  3. John says:

    I’m really grateful that i purchased iPad2 instead of other products. I was hesitant at first due to its limitations. However with iCloud feature, it filled in the gaps. I can just get the data from the MicroSD using my MAC and upload it to iCloud.

    • Hi John, glad to hear that you’re enjoying your iPad 2. It’s the best consumer tablet PC in my opinion – for me it’s the eco-system of apps and media that really take it above other tablets. Also, as you say iCloud opens up the options and allows you to sync between your iPad, iTunes library on your Mac/PC and iPhone. I’m enjoying that feature too as it just means you can put down one device and pick up again on another seemlessly.

  4. Good list of tablets here. Hard to believe how popular the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer TF101 is becoming.

  5. ZAc says:

    I am not surprised at all that ipad 2 is No 1-It is an all round winner. The tablet that comes the closest is probably samsung galaxy.

    I am really looking forward to see what the people at apple has for Ipad 3.

    • Thanks for the comment Zac. Yes, I’m also looking forward to the iPad 3, should only be a couple of months now. Cheers, Ted

  6. I own an Ipad 2 and the Blackberry Playbook (+blackberry phone). If the Playbook wouldn’t have the restrictions and the same apps as the Ipad, I would actually prefer to use that one. It’s much smaller, so it’s easier to carry around.The things that make the Ipad big are the apps. Developers usually aim their apps at Apple and Android. Would be nice to have some more for Blackberry.

    • Thanks for your comments Menno. Yes, the Playbook is a great tablet but just lacks any decent apps eco-system. Totally agree with you that the thing that makes the iPad so compelling is all the apps and other media content available.

  7. I would agree that the Ipad is still the most compelling. With all the available apps, there seems to be endless options. Even for simple things, the Ipad is becoming the tool of choice. Business people are abandoning traditional notebooks in favor of bringing their Ipads to meetings in order to take notes.

    • Thanks for your comment Elena. I couldn’t agree with you more, the iPad is dominating at the moment. There are some great Android tablets around but we need some improvements in the eco-system for Android tablets for them to compete more for the average consumer. Netbooks and notebooks are becoming a thing of the past – particularly with the iPad, ultrabooks and the new Microsoft Surface on the way!

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